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Legacy Weapon – Kansas City

Like all tournaments, I remember the GP as a blur of plays, matchups, and decks, and that’s how I’m going to present it. No mulligans, mana-screw, or sacking out ever-so-hard—just the interesting bits.

Passing the Turn

I cast a Kiki-Jiki to match my [card]Restoration Angel[/card], and my Gifts opponent didn’t even flinch. The combo was no good. I thought over my options, remembering something Joe had told me.

“You can always pass the turn and untap with protection.”

I took his advice. At my end of turn, my opponent tried to [card]Dismember[/card] the Kiki-Jiki.

“In response, I’ll copy the Restoration Angel. The token blinks Kiki-Jiki.”

My opponent looked from the board to his hand, his eyes full of chagrin. He reminded me of the kid who got called on in class without knowing the answer.

Even if he’d saved his removal spell, I would’ve been able to untap and protect myself. In response to the Dismember, I had a [card]Deceiver Exarch[/card] to untap the Kiki-Jiki and keep comboing.

Second Thoughts

I lost to Gifts, I lost to Tron, but mostly I just lost. Maybe my test partners were better than I was used to. Maybe UWR Twin was the wrong choice.

Tron felt good in testing. Could I put that deck together? What about all the people I’d convinced to play Twin?

No, I’d never played Tron in a tournament, and I’d never done poorly with Twin. These were fears, jitters, the taunts of insecurity.

Still, we were expecting fewer [card]Kird Ape[/card]s and more [card]Lingering Souls[/card]. I made some last-minute adjustments from the list I recommended last week, cutting [card]Lightning Helix[/card] for more [card]Electrolyze[/card] and [card]Cryptic Command[/card].

[deck]Main Deck
2 Sulfur Falls
2 Cascade Bluffs
1 Plains
4 Celestial Colonnade
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Mountain
2 Island
2 Steam Vents
4 Arid Mesa
4 Scalding Tarn
3 Restoration Angel
4 Wall of Omens
1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Spellskite
2 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
4 Deceiver Exarch
1 Pestermite
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Electrolyze
1 Pyroclasm
4 Remand
4 Splinter Twin
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Path to Exile
1 Cryptic Command
Sideboard
1 Spellskite
1 Electrolyze
1 Cryptic Command
1 Negate
1 Timely Reinforcements
2 Rest in Peace
2 Threads of Disloyalty
1 Celestial Purge
1 Wear/Tear
4 Dispel[/deck]

Let’m Linger

I don’t bird much, but I like watching friends so I can discuss their plays. In this case, my buddy Gleicher was playing Junk against GW Tokens.

Gleicher flooded on removal while his opponent just flooded. Eventually, the board state became Gleicher with a board of [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card]s and a [card]Path to Exile[/card] and [card]Abrupt Decay[/card] in hand. His opponent untapped with 11 life and an [card]Auriok Champion[/card] in play. He had about six lands, three of which he tapped for Lingering Souls.

In this situation, Gleicher’s plan is to stop his opponent from gaining traction while turning extra removal into damage. With that in mind, the intuitive play is to Path the Champion in response, preventing it from gaining his opponent 2 life.

There’s a better line. If he lets his opponent’s [card]Lingering Souls[/card] resolve, the Champion will trigger twice, which passes priority. This gives Gleicher a chance to eat the Lingering Souls with a Deathrite, negating the life gain from the Champion and denying his opponent two tokens.

Day One

The day started with a match against Sam Black, which was featured in the text coverage. I’ve played Sam before, and we’ve always had pleasant games with a reasonably high level of play.

Here he was playing Pod, one of my better matchups, but he still made a match of it. Both decks can interact with the other, Pod through disruptive creatures and Twin through removal. The difference is that removal both stops Pod from going off and kills whatever disruptive creature they have. While Voice can be hard to play around, [card]Remand[/card]ing an early Pod is the best feeling in the world, and [card]Deceiver Exarch[/card] combined with [card]Restoration Angel[/card] can keep the powerful artifact tapped on upkeep for a few turns.

I went on to beat Affinity, lose to Affinity, crush Living End and beat UWR Geist. In the last match of the day, I was paired against Jund, one of my worst matchups.

The problem is that discard is incredibly good against Twin. That, paired with Bob, [card]Liliana of the Veil[/card], and pressure can be hard to beat. That’s one of the reasons I run Threads, [card]Celestial Purge[/card], and [card]Rest in Peace[/card] in the board.

Game one, I managed to slam a [card]Splinter Twin[/card] on a [card]Wall of Omens[/card] when he tapped out for Liliana. He didn’t have a removal spell, and could only shake his head as the Wall drew me through my deck. At one point I started using [card]Deceiver Exarch[/card]s to untap my Wall for more cards, digging me into another Twin.

In game two he played a turn two [card]Dark Confidant[/card]. I answered with Path, my only removal spell, and he dropped two more Bobs into play. I looked on as they drew him into a steady stream of [card]Fulminator Mage[/card]s. At one point, I could’ve shocked myself to play a [card]Rest in Peace[/card], but opted to conserve my life total. On his next turn he flipped a [card]Tarmogoyf[/card] and a [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card], and I never got a chance to cast the Rest in Peace.

Fortunately, a [card]Restoration Angel[/card] hit and a few burn spells were enough to finish what his Bobs started.

Fallout

This story involves a UWR Twin player fighting for his life. For the sake of anonymity, let’s call him Jeff. A good, generic name like Jeff Rassmussen. Could be anyone.

Jeff faced a Kiki opponent with an active Pod and a decent board, but he wasn’t worried. He had a trump—[card]Volcanic Fallout[/card].

His opponent used Pod to tutor up a Deceiver Exarch and a Kiki-Jiki.

“Kill you” he said, tapping the Kiki-Jiki.

Jeff cast the Fallout.

“OK,” his opponent said, “that resolves. When the Deceiver copy enters play, it’s going to untap my Pod, and I’m going to kill you anyway.”

Jeff should’ve timed his Fallout better. In this case, he needed to specify that he was casting it after the Deceiver ability was on the stack targeting the Kiki.

Day Two

My Day Two went worse. I started 0-2 against Scott Hoppe with Scapeshift and Greg Ogreenc with Burn, who both Top 8’d. I then beat Scapeshift and Burn, lost an intricate match to Alex Majlaton, the most competent Affinity pilot ever, and drew into Top 64.

Halfway through the day, Casey Swanson approached me out of nowhere. He shook my hand and told me he read my article on Friday morning, which convinced him to play UWR Twin. He’d never Day Two’d a GP before, and he was grateful just to be playing Magic. I gave him matchup advice when he asked for it, told him he could probably draw in to Top 8 and that his opponent (Ari Lax) wouldn’t lie to him about breakers. On the ride home, I was sad to see he lost to Scott, the same Scapeshift player that took me down in the Swiss.

For the record, seeing others do well with my decks never gets old, and in a way it’s more satisfying than getting there myself.

Todd Anderson’s Pile

Todd Anderson and Owen were both hovering around my bracket, but I never got a chance to play either of them. I was looking forward to it, too, as the quad-[card]Dispel[/card]s and Rest in Peace in the board looked good against Owen’s Storm deck and Todd’s [card]Goryo’s Vengeance[/card] pile.

Speaking of Todd’s pile, it looks sweet. I’ve seen it played before, but never by a strong player like Todd, and his Top 16 with it is some evidence that it’s competitive. For reference:

[deck]Main Deck
1 Breeding Pool
1 Watery Grave
1 Blood Crypt
1 Steam Vents
1 Island
1 Mountain
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Misty Rainforest
3 Gemstone Mine
3 Blackcleave Cliffs
2 Darkslick Shores
4 Simian Spirit Guide
4 Griselbrand
4 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
4 Faithless Looting
3 Thoughtseize
4 Izzet Charm
1 See Beyond
4 Goryo’s Vengeance
4 Pentad Prism
4 Through the Breach
4 Fury of the Horde
Sideboard
4 Abrupt Decay
1 Thoughtseize
3 Pyroclasm
3 Torpor Orb
2 Negate
2 Duress[/deck]

[card]Griselbrand[/card] attacks, draws some cards, and [card]Fury of the Horde[/card] lets it keep attacking and drawing cards. My kind of deck.

It’s a Trap!

A UWR Twin pilot was playing for Top 8 when, due to ignorance or exhaustion, he made a terrific misplay.

“Path your guy,” he said.

“Hardcast [card]Ricochet Trap[/card], redirect to your guy,” his opponent answered, leaving a red up.

The Twin player paused. He had two lands untapped with both [card]Remand[/card] and [card]Dispel[/card] in hand.

“Remand your Trap.”

“Ok, since you played a blue spell, I’m casting the Trap again for a red.”

Speaking of Ricochet Trap, how great would it be to redirect a [card]Splinter Twin[/card]?

Targeting with Twin

My board state was the following:

[card]Wall of Omens[/card], [card]Spellskite[/card], [card]Restoration Angel[/card], and five lands.

My hand was [card]Splinter Twin[/card].

And he had an [card]Etched Champion[/card] with two cards in hand, but he was tapped out.

What was the correct target for the Splinter Twin? Spellskite protects your other creatures and blocks the Etched Champion even if he suits it up with a [card]Cranial Plating[/card]. Wall of Omens acts as a draw engine, hopefully finding some kind of kill.

The correct answer is [card]Restoration Angel[/card]. Sometimes, enchanting the Angel is poor. If the opponent has extra mana open, they can blow you out with a removal spell, while if you go for the [card]Wall of Omens[/card] you’ll trade one-for-one and leave your better creature (Angel) in play. Here, however, my opponent is tapped out and I have Spellskite for protection.

This line gives me flexibility, allowing me to blink the Wall or Spellskite. The Angel token gains haste, so I can still attack if I want to. Meanwhile, if I ever draw a [card]Deceiver Exarch[/card], I can simply play it and go infinite.

This is a useful loop to remember. Sometimes, you have Deceiver Exarch and Splinter Twin in hand with at least six lands in play, but playing Deceiver and enchanting it doesn’t work as it still has summoning sickness. If you have a [card]Restoration Angel[/card] already in play, you can still combo off.

The Fresh List

[deck]Main Deck
2 Sulfur Falls
2 Cascade Bluffs
1 Plains
4 Celestial Colonnade
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Mountain
2 Island
2 Steam Vents
4 Arid Mesa
4 Scalding Tarn
3 Restoration Angel
4 Wall of Omens
1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Spellskite
2 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
4 Deceiver Exarch
1 Pestermite
2 Electrolyze
1 Pyroclasm
4 Remand
4 Splinter Twin
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Path to Exile
1 Cryptic Command
Sideboard
2 Worship
2 Vendilion Clique
2 Negate
2 Rest in Peace
2 Threads of Disloyalty
1 Celestial Purge
4 Dispel[/deck]

[card]Worship[/card] is as-of-yet untested, but I think it’s better than [card]Lightning Helix[/card] or [card]Timely Reinforcements[/card]. The burn decks run piles of [card]Flames of the Blood Hand[/card] and [card]Skullcrack[/card]s, making life gain risky, and Zoo doesn’t seem to exist.

Worship has some overlap against Affinity, too, where the major risk is dying to a fast rush of flyers or an [card]Etched Champion[/card] with a [card]Cranial Plating[/card] attached. Affinity usually has one removal spell to disrupt the combo on the crucial turn, but they rarely have enough to clear the board for Worship. Both Affinity and Burn tend to have [card]Torpor Orb[/card]s post-board, and not cards like [card]Dismember[/card]. Often the board gets cluttered with [card]Wall of Omens[/card] and [card]Restoration Angel[/card]s.

I like that Worship ignores [card]Rakdos Charm[/card], which was another common sideboard card against Twin. My main concern is that it’s weak to [card]Ray of Revelation[/card], which one of my Affinity opponents got me with. If I was only worried about Burn, [card]Circle of Protection: Red[/card] would be a better option, and if I were only worried about Affinity, I would prefer [card]Shattering Spree[/card], [card]Stony Silence[/card], or maybe more [card]Pyroclasm[/card]s. However, one of the tricks to Modern is getting the most use out of your precious sideboard slots.

[card]Vendilion Clique[/card] moves back to the board. Throughout the tournament, Clique was either my best card or my worst, and most of that is because it’s so matchup dependent. At the time, I was lured by the idea of having another creature to blink with [card]Restoration Angel[/card], but consistency is more important.

The second [card]Cryptic Command[/card] in the board was worse than a second [card]Negate[/card] would’ve been, especially against Scapeshift where mana is tight and multiple counters are necessary. A package of two [card]Negate[/card] and two Cliques, backed up by [card]Dispel[/card], should move this matchup from close to favored.

[card]Electrolyze[/card] overperformed, and its consistent goodness is why the second is now in the main deck. Against the deck’s trickier matchups, like Jund and Affinity, Electrolyze gives you a chance to pull back into a losing game.

Recap

UWR was developed for Modern by Joe Bernal and myself, and it qualified both of us for PT San Diego during the tail end of the last PTQ season. It is an interactive deck with a powerful nut draw, good board development, and a great deal of flexibility.

It’s also one of the most fun decks I’ve ever played, and the only one in the format that can put a Splinter Twin on a Wall of Omens. If you’re anything like me, that’s a huge plus. Give it a shot if you haven’t yet.

As for the tournament, I already miss Kansas City.

The chairs were comfortable.

The convention food was cheap and freshtasty.

The parking was free.

The BBQ was excellent.

The Modern was fun.

Thanks for tagging along,

Caleb Durward

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